The Texas Rangers’ 38-52 record entering play tonight is quite sobering, to say the least.
Admit it – we’ve been very, very spoiled over the last five years. Over those five seasons, at this time, we would all be discussing what the Rangers’ needs are and which teams might willing to sell off some of their high-end talent.
Yet, here we stand on the other end of the spectrum, a side that was all too familiar for many, many seasons prior to 2009 and many, many years prior to 1996. It stinks.
Entering play tonight, the Rangers’ 52 losses are the second-most in the American League and fourth-most in the Major Leagues. With the group of guys Ron Washington is being forced to fill the lineup card with, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
There aren’t any reinforcements coming. Derek Holland, barring any setbacks, should be returning at some point this month, but that is all. I wouldn’t bet on Geovany Soto, as Robinson Chirinos and Chris Giminez have actually been better than what he would offer.
In fact, in his five rehab starts at Triple-A Round Rock, Soto is currently 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts.
After the All-Star Break comes and passes, the Rangers should be sellers.
The team has some assets that could be flipped for minor league talent, and some of the return could be players that can help the team as soon as next season. Some of those players could actually help the team as soon as this offseason.
Hear me out.
The Rangers have guys in the final year of their contracts that teams will covet as key pieces to help them reach the postseason. Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Alex Rios, Joakim Soria and maybe even Colby Lewis if he can progress between now and the trade deadline.
Rios and Soria have options in their contracts that could keep them under team control through 2016, as well, so that actually increases their value. Rios will also likely be the most prized player in a thin market for available outfielders.
It appears, at this point, as if the only players the Rangers have declared as untouchable are Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre. Beltre’s value is very high, obviously, due to his production, but he is also under team control for next year with a contract option for 2016.
Elvis Andrus’ name has also been floated out there, but the Rangers will likely have to swallow a good portion of his contract. His eight-year, $118 million extension doesn’t even kick in till next year, when he’ll be owed at least $14 million annually.
Remember the days when Jurickson Profar was deemed untouchable in trade talks? That seems like such a long time ago.
I’ve heard some fans ask about the prospects of dealing him. That is laughable, and here is why: Injured players have zero trade value, especially when they have proven nothing at the big league level.
I’m not saying to blow the team up. That isn’t going to happen.
The Rangers have invested too much in Prince Fielder by trading Ian Kinsler and taking on a contract that will pay the big guy $24 million annually. In 2016, the Detroit Tigers will begin picking up $6 million of that a year, but it’s still a lot.
They have invested too much in Shin-Soo Choo – seven years and $130 million, as a matter of fact. And they still have at least two more years of Yu Darvish.
As mentioned above, some of the assets acquired at this trade deadline could help them in the offseason. Meaning it could allow the Rangers to make some other prospects available or use a few prospects acquired at the deadline to trade for some pitching in the offseason.
Or maybe trade for a right fielder. Or maybe do nothing and overstock yourself after learning a valuable lesson this offseason – it might be best to prepare for the worst.
There will be a next season, believe it or not, and the Rangers still have the tools to be a contender for a couple more years. Come the trade deadline, the Rangers need to get what they can with what they can and reload for 2015.
But continue rooting.
Root for the young guys to show some development. Root for the possible trade assets to continue to produce, as it will only raise their value come trade time.
And, most importantly, pray for their health.